The Right Tools for Peak Pro Groom Performance
Groomers want professional equipment that provides safe and optimal execution and takes advantage of new technologies.
The professional grooming products category is trending toward higher performance, with an emphasis on technology.
“The trends in the vibrant professional grooming product equipment sector are a melding of performance, ergonomics and intrinsic value,” said Gregory Crisp, president of Double K Industries in Chatsworth, Calif. “Animal dryers are increasingly more powerful with greater airflow, even as manufacturers innovate to reduce noise levels and moderate prices. Clipper engineering developments similarly embody more effectiveness with ever higher blade strokes per minute while simultaneously providing comfort with soft material over-molds, which also reduces noise levels.”
Nancy Apatow, president of PetLift in New York, sees a trend in technology in this category, in large part because of the newness of some of the product types.
“Since the animal-handling industry is still relatively new, technology in grooming equipment is being worked on continuously,” she said.
The dryer category is experiencing a trend from the consumer side, said Brent Bennett, owner of Liberty Star Equipment in Tampa, Fla.
“There has been a backlash from grooming professionals against dryers that don’t hold up to rigorous use and are difficult and expensive to repair,” he said.
New Products for Pro Groomers
Groomers gravitate toward products that make their jobs easier. Danielle Tortorello, grooming manager with Pussy & Pooch Pethouse and Pawbar, which has locations in Southern California, said there are several new products she prefers to use.
“I like the Les Poochs Mat-Zapper Brush,” she said. “It helps to avoid damaging the coat when brushing matted dogs. The finer-coat and tinier-boned dogs, such as Maltese and Yorkies, are more able to tolerate having mats brushed out when we are using this brush because it pulls less on their coat when removing a mat.”
Tortorello also likes Wahl Metal Attachment Combs for clipping because they help reduce scissoring time on pet trims, and the Andis Excel 5-Speed Clipper because it cuts at a high speed, she said.
“This allows you to cut the dog’s hair faster, reducing the number of times you have to go over a thick-coated breed,” she said.
PetLift in New York has released several new products for the professional grooming industry, said Nancy Apatow, president.
“We have been making laminate cages as well as drying cages for over 30 years,” she said. “We now are producing stainless steel cages.”
PetLift also introduced the MasterLift 3010 Hydraulic Swing Arm Table, which includes the company’s No Slip, No Drop Post on the hydraulic pump for stability, Apatow said.
The company’s 660C and 675C Certified Hair Traps also are available, and, according to Apatow, they are the only sink-accessible hair traps that meet all U.S. plumbing codes.
PetLift is involved in a joint venture with Groomers Helper that resulted in the Tub Restraining System.
“This is a special restraining system that is adaptable to [Groomers Helper’s] tubs and will tie and restrain animals in a gentle and calming way,” Apatow said. “This tie-out will prevent the handler from being bit and will hold the animal humanely in the bathing tub.”
Brittanie Kohhoss, manager of Canine Creek Pet Wash and Boutique in Tehachapi, Calif., likes using the Master Grooming Tools Stripping Tool.
“Their ergonomic stripper removes a lot of dead hair and really thins out the undercoat,” she said. “It’s a lot easier to manipulate than some other tools because of the wide rubber handles. I think that helps with pet safety so you can guard against using too much pressure. And there’s no plucking, so it’s a smoother way to reduce hair.”
In the dryer category, Liberty Star Equipment in Tampa, Fla., recently introduced the 1836v Variable Speed Dryer.
“It has all of the power of our flagship product, the 1836 dryer, but with a 0-100 variable speed control,” said owner Brent Bennett. “We developed the variable-speed model based on overwhelming feedback from groomers and pet professionals. It also allows us to serve the self-wash operators who have been looking for a drying solution for their stations.”
Ergonomics in Grooming Equipment
Professional groomers use grooming equipment for hours each day, so good ergonomic design is important. Well-designed products make it easier for groomers to do their job over long periods of time.
“Ergonomics integrated into the design of professional grooming products is a critical need and objective for manufacturers and groomers alike,” said Gregory Crisp, president of Double K Industries in Chatsworth, Calif. “Legitimate repetitive motion and carpal tunnel injuries along with abuses of worker’s compensation law, particularly in the coastal states, are important drivers in new and upcoming clipper designs.”
Ergonomic design is important for blow dryers as well, Crisp said.
“Eliminating acoustical insults suffered by many groomers over the years working with animal dryers has been the impetus for many new dryer models that comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s 85 dB industry regulation, with many products achieving even better results,” he said. “Expect this trend to continue with every tool and piece of equipment in the grooming industry, from scissors and tables to finish dryers.”
Cynthia Kohl, vice president of Aronco Pet Products Inc. in Hicksville, N.Y., said she specifically designed the handles on Aronco’s new carding and raking products to be ergonomically sound.
“Carding and raking are labor-intensive and time-consuming activities, and the tools used should never dig into the hand,” she said.
Brent Bennett, owner of Liberty Star Equipment in Tampa, Fla., said ergonomics plays a huge role in the design of dryers.
“You are dealing with the heat, weight and comfort of something held in the hand for long stretches of the day,” he said. “Finding ways to make the job of drying easier and more comfortable is a driving force in dryer design.”
Customer Education in Grooming Equipment
It’s important for groomers to understand the products they work with so they can get optimum use, according to manufacturers.
“From what we are seeing, groomers are getting frustrated with some of the equipment out there that does not last,” said Lindsay Dressen, director of marketing and product development for Groomer’s Best in Brandon, S.D. “I would suggest to anyone who is going to buy new equipment to do some research. The right piece of equipment might cost a little more than they may want to spend, but it’s worth it in the end to buy quality equipment from a company that stands behind its product.”
In the dryer category, consumer education plays a very important role and can lead to dollars saved in the future, said Brent Bennett, owner of Liberty Star Equipment in Tampa, Fla.
“Because dryers are a higher-ticket item, a more long-term view is needed when purchasing one,” he said. “Education about the ease of repair, warranties and parts availability is crucial for the consumer when choosing a dryer.”
This article originally appeared in the May 2016 issue of Pet Product News.